Macabre Eternal

Lost in all the controversy and arguing over the new Morbid Angel album is the  fact that another legendary, godfather act of death metal also returned after a long hiatus in 2011. The difference is…these guys did it right.

After two certifiably classic death metal albums in Severed Survival and Mental Funeral, Autopsy released two  polarizing albums in 1992’s Acts of the Unspeakable and 1995’s Shitfun, then Chris Reifert disbanded Autopsy to concentrate on Abscess. But now, after 16 years (I have not heard last years teaser EP The Tomb Within) the original lineup, plus one, are back with a brand new album on Peaceville Records no less (and graced with gloriously old school Wes Benscoter artwork). All is right in the death metal world. This is the Ying to Morbid Angel‘s experimental Yang — bringing balance to all that is wrong.

No techno, no programming, no experimentation; Autopsy have shown how to make an album that proudly culls from their past, doesn’t push boundaries or try to be brave. Macabre Eternal plays it safe, knows its limits and delivers what fans want from their idols: Songs called “Dirty Gore Whore”.

Yeah, there’s no songs about how radical they were, but there are old faithful fall backs like shit, disease, piles of bones, torture, people sewn together and of course death, and the sound of the first two albums to match those lovable themes is present and sounds as good as it did 20 years ago.

From the opening throes of “Hand of Darkness” there’s absolutely no mistaking that this is an Autopsy album from the Reifert’s gurgled vocals and sloppy punk drumming, jangly loose cantankerous riffs, demented solos  and an overall vibe of scrawly, sickly, unbridled mayhem that could only be called true death metal. And even after the initial glee of an new, Autopsy album fades after the impressive opening track, you are still left with over an hour of surprisingly consistent and enjoyable Autopsy. It’s like Reifert, Coralles and Butler have been storing classic Autopsy riffs for the last few years and simply uncorked them in one explosive throwback effort.

So many of the moments of Macabre Eternal are unmistakably Autopsy, but freshly eviscerated; viscous doomy chords, demented hacking vocals, sickly wailing solos, and rumbling tumbling percussive canters litter the likes of “Always About to Die”, “Macabre Eternal”, “Seeds of the Doomed” and ‘Born Undead” that fans of the bands first two albums will simply be grinning from ear to ear. But, the standout track has to be the 11+ minute “Sadistic Gratification”, a deranged foray into torture with a vile, haunting psychotic gait mixed with twisted thrash that could almost be termed ‘epic’ as the victim is slowly and systematically cut to pieces by a sadistic Reifert.

I also appreciated the fact that Autopsy, once purveyors of the the most shocking and gross lyrics around, have seen that the lyrical bar for perversion has simply been shattered since they were offending everyone and rather than go completely over the top or plant their tongue in their cheek and try to out do the Defeated Sanities, Waco Jesuses, Guts and Viral Loads, theyve kept things relatively restrained and classically themed by today’s standards. Like a classic horror film going against today’s glut of torture porn and overly done remakes, Autopsy‘s return seems tastefully refined and most of all very welcome.

My oh my, how times have changed.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 14th, 2011


  1. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    Great review, my thoughts exactly ! Except that it’s maybe just a bit too long for it’s own good.

  2. Commented by: Clauricaune

    Spot-on review, Erik. This is the comeback everybody was expecting.

  3. Commented by: That's How Kids Die

    Every time Erik Thomas reviews a death metal album, he uses some variation of the word “scrawl”. I still don’t know what a band’s poor penmanship has to do with death metal. : )

    In all seriousness though, this album is indeed the antidote to Morbid Angel’s embarrassing crapfest of a new album. I’d agree with Biff_Tannen that it is a tad on the long side, but every song here is quality, even if it is a lot to digest.

  4. Commented by: krustster

    I never really got into Autopsy but I liked this one. I always got them confused with Obituary, shameful I know. A suitable comeback indeed.

  5. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    we’re racist because this is good.

  6. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    @ Nick – hahahahahaha !

  7. Commented by: titmo71

    for fuck sake, is this an autopsy review or just another forum to bash morbid angel.give these guys thier due and concentrate on what theyr’e doing and not worry about that other band. these guys deserve that much.
    (or maybe every Thomas review revolves around MA now, i can’t tell)

  8. Commented by: faust

    Damn, great review Erik.. Haven’t gotten around to hearing this yet, gonna remedy that ASAP.

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